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MARION — Commissioner Ron Ellis came to Friday’s Williamson County Board meeting with some things to talk about.

He just didn’t get very far.

The three-member board met Friday to discuss a tentative county budget, when Ellis raised several issues.

Ellis said some decisions were made without his being in attendance — he said meetings were scheduled when the other board members knew he was otherwise occupied with other committees he sits on.

“You should have been here,” Board Chair Jim Marlo said to Ellis when he raised the concerns.

Marlo said that these budget meetings had been planned in advance, to which Ellis replied that his long-standing regular meetings also are. Marlo simply told him that he believed the budgeting process should possibly take precedence.

Ellis then moved to the question of whether the board should bid the county’s auditing work to an outside firm. Ellis told the board that in the years he’s been on the board, the county has spent a total of more than $196,000 over what was budgeted for auditing work. The timeline for these charges was Nov. 30, 2009, to Nov. 30, 2011. The firm the county contracts with is Hudgens and Meyer LLC.

“Moving on,” Marlo said after Ellis was finished.

Ellis looked surprised, asking if that was the only conversation the board would have on the subject. Ellis had previously told The Southern it wouldn’t be too late to bid the process out — in an effort to get a better price — before finalizing the next fiscal year’s budget. 

He thinks it could be worth the time if it saves taxpayers money.

“That’s your opinion,” Marlo said to Ellis. “I’m fine with what we do.”

Board member Brent Gentry and Marlo both asked Ellis why this has not been brought up before — Ellis said it had.

“In the last two years I’ve expressed interest in doing this and it hasn’t made it past first base,” he said.

The other two board members said that the topic had been brought up in conversation previously, and it was decided that the extra cost was worth it.

Gentry and Marlo agreed that perhaps another meeting would be in order to finish finalizing the budget.

The next meeting will be at 10:15 a.m. Nov 21.

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isaac.smith@thesouthern.com

618-351-5823

On Twitter: @ismithreports

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Reporter

Isaac Smith is a reporter covering Jackson County.

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